Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Read This Before Purchasing the Next New Miracle Cure

In this new world of blogging, it is easy to find someone on the internet discussing food or a food supplement and the latest medical cure.  As we start the New Year, our thoughts turn to getting healthier and losing those extra pounds we gained.  Social Media is packed with promised cures and many  self proclaimed experts.  But, how do we find out true facts.  There are several clues to guide us to true information.
  • Is the claim to good to be true?  Does this miracle cure promise too many great things?
  • What was the testing or study that proved the claims?
  • Does the author have any Formal Training in Nutrition?  The term nutritionist is not a regulated term and anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.  Look for the term dietitian.
This article from the University of Nebraska Food Reflections Newsletter has additional clues to help you determine whether a possible food cure is a wise use of your money and time.  Check it out and sign up for their newsletters.

Before You Read Another Food Article on the Internet

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cranberry Apple Salsa

Do you like cranberries, but want something different from the standard relish for your holiday table or to take to a party?  This cranberry sauce definitely has a Southwest kick.

Cranberry Apple Salsa

Makes 8 (1/4 cup) servings.
Per serving: 36 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat),
9 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 2 mg sodium.

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries, or frozen, unsweetened
1/2 medium Fuji apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 strips (1-inch x 1/2-inch) lime zest, coarsely chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, without seeds, chopped
3 Tbsp. raw sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

In food processor, pulse cranberries just until coarsely chopped. Add apple, onion, lime zest, jalapeno, sugar and lime juice. Pulse (quick pulses) until salsa is still slightly chunky, about 15-20 times.

Add cilantro and pulse until it is chopped but not mushy, about 10 times, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Season with a bit of salt, just to lift flavors.

Let salsa sit 20 minutes for flavors to marry. Serve same day.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Limit Your Treats or Increase Your Exercise to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

This article by the American Institute of Cancer Research has a chart that reminds us how much extra exercise we need to burn off those tasty holiday treats, so eat with caution.

eNews: How long will I need to walk to burn off those holiday treats?

December is Pear Month

I have never been a fan of pears, but for the last 10 years as my children have been selling FFA fruit, Pears are the most sot after item.  I have people calling me weeks ahead of time just to make sure they get their order in.  So when I found this article, I thought I should share.  What a more fitting time as December is Pear Month.  Pears would make a beautiful addition to your holiday table.

Pears are members of the family rosaceae. There are many varieties of these tasty fruits, which are known for their sweet and honeyed flavor. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of pears…
Bartlett pears are some of the most common pears that you’ll find for sale in the U.S. These large fruits have thin skins and a sweet flavor, along with a soft and juicy texture. They’re great in baked goods and make up most of the canned and processed pear varieties that you’ll find in the grocery store. When it comes to bartlett pears, you can get either green or red varieties.
Anjou pears also come in red or green versions. Another popular pear, these tasty specimens are generally squat and plump, with firm and juicy flesh. Their smooth skin is relatively thin, which makes them wonderful for eating raw.
Bosc pears are taller than most other varieties, with brown skin that is similar in color to cinnamon. Their firm and sweet inner flesh makes them great pears for eating out of hand. They also hold up quite well when poached.
Comice pears can be many colors, from deep red to pale green. One of the juiciest varieties of pears, comice pears are soft, tender, and creamy. A common holiday gift, comice pears pair well with a variety of cheeses and are also perfect to eat all on their own. Since they are so popular during the holidays, many people call them Christmas pears.
Forelle pears are some of the smallest types of common pears. They’re oval, with yellow-green speckled skin that turns red as it ripens. The inner flesh is white and crisp, though it softens slightly as it gets riper.
Asian pears are very different than most other kinds of pears. With a round, apple-like shape and firm, pebbly flesh, these pears are downright crunchy. Use them when crispness really matters, like in salads or slaws.

Pears are a good source of fiber. In fact, a medium pear contains 22% of the fiber you need in a day. This is great news for your health, since MyPlate asserts “Diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.” Plus, research indicates that fiber is key to healthy digestion, reducing constipation and diverticulosis. A medium pear also has 12% of the daily value for vitamin C and 10% of the daily value of vitamin K. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is key to good health. Aiding iron absorption, boosting the immune system, and blocking free radical damage are just a few of its many functions. Vitamin K is also important for good health, helping blood to clot effectively. It may also boost bone health in the elderly.

Did you know that pears actually ripen off the tree and from the inside out? Store pears at room temperature, moving them to the fridge only once they’re ripe enough to eat. Pears brown quickly when sliced, but you can dip sliced pears in a mixture of water and lemon juice to prevent browning if you really want to prep them ahead of time. Be sure to rinse whole pears in cold running water before you slice or eat them.  Most pears are perfect to eat as soon as they ripen. They don’t need a lot of fuss or effort in order to be a fun and healthful snack. 

I had a gentleman tell me once that pears are best when they look like they are ready to throw away.  They are more flavorful and sweeter.  This makes sense if you think about pears ripening from the inside out. 

Pears also lend themselves well to cooking projects.   For some recipe suggestions check out the full article from the Food for Health Blog.

Pear Fact Sheet

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Unique Gift Ideas for that Health Lover (or Wannabe)

Do you have one of those hard to find a gift for person on your Christmas list?  This article has some new ideas for healthy gifts that might be the perfect match for your person. I am intrigued by the 5 blade scissors.

eNews: Unique Gift Ideas for that Health Lover (or Wannabe)

Hot and Healthy Winter Drink Recipes

I found this article with some tasty sounding drinks that will be perfect as this cold front is expected to bring much lower temperatures and snow to our area.  I am craving some chocolate, so I think I might just go make some Hot Chocolate Chai, now.

eNews: Hot and Healthy Winter Drink Recipes

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Leftover Turkey Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  We are expecting a nice day here today, but by Friday our temperature is expected to be around 20 with a strong wind.  What a great day to make a soup or stew.  This quick recipe came in my e-mail this morning from the Diabetes Gourmet newsletter and uses leftover pulled turkey.  With a couple of modifications you would be able to make something similar with what you have in your pantry.  Feel free to substitute regular kidney beans or navy beans for the white if you don't have them and yellow canned corn for white corn.  You will need a large pot as this makes 6 quarts.  Recipe could easily be cut in half.  Enjoy and stay warm.

Baja Turkey Chili
Yield: 24 servings

 2 tablespoons: olive oil
 2 cups: chopped onion
 2 cups: chopped celery
 2 quarts: pulled or cooked turkey breast, chopped
 50 ounces: white kidney beans, rinsed and well drained
 44 ounces: white corn, undrained
 8 ounces: green chilies, chopped
 2 quarts: turkey broth
 2 teaspoons: ground cumin
 3 cups: shredded Monterey jack cheese
 1 bunch: fresh cilantro sprigs
 As needed: tortilla chips

In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and celery, cook and stir until vegetables are tender.  Stir in turkey, beans, corn, chilies, broth and cumin. Combine well.  Cover and cook about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until heated through.  Serve 8 ounces per serving and garnish with cheese and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired (not included in nutritional data).

Nutritional Information Per Serving Calories: 259 ; Protein: 21 g ; Fat: 6 g ; Sodium: 263 mg; Cholesterol: 37 mg ; Carbohydrates: 29 g

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Let's Talk Turkey

Many of us only cook turkeys during the holidays, so here are some tips from USDA to remember for thawing your turkey safely and a time table for roasting.

Remember to plan ahead and place your turkey in the refrigerator to thaw either Sunday or Monday depending on your turkey size.

Let's Talk Turkey

I shorten the cooking time for my turkeys by using a turkey size oven roasting bag.  I also purchase a large aluminum pan to thaw my turkey in.  Then I wash it well and use it to cook my turkey.

Have a Very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Do You Have Problems With Your Shoes Staying Tied?

Recently I was visiting family and during a discussion on Ted Talk and You Tube topics, we learned that several of us had been tying our shoes wrong.  Tying shoes so that they strings form a square knot not only makes a nicer looking bow, but they will also stay tied better.  I tried this method with my shoes that had leather laces.  Because of the lace I was not able to double knot them, so I tie them 4 to 5 times a day.  I am happy to report that they stayed tied all day.  If you are interested, click on this video to learn why shoes come untied and how to tie them so they don't.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Shopping List for Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Next time you are at the grocery store add some foods high in Omega 3s to your cart.  Here are some ideas

 Fish: An Excellent Source
Cold-water fish has the highest amount of DHA and EPA, the two fatty acids closely linked to heart health. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings per week of salmon, tuna, herring, lake trout, sardines, or similar fatty fish. Why? Studies show that the omega-3s DHA and EPA lower triglycerides, fats in your blood that can lead to blocked arteries. And omega-3s can also help reduce the risk of irregular heartbeats.

Flaxseeds, Flaxseed Oil, and Other Seeds
Flaxseeds have high amounts of ALA omega-3s. But you have to grind them right before you eat them to get all of their benefits.  Flaxseed oil is another good source of this omega-3. Poppy, pumpkin, and sesame seeds also have plant-based omega-3s, but in much smaller amounts. Try tossing them into oatmeal, breads, and salads.  Try adding toasted flaxseeds to salads, soups, and sandwiches for a pleasant crunch.

Whole flaxseeds grind easily in a coffee grinder if you wish to process your own. Ground flaxseed is often sold as “milled flax,” “flaxseed flour” or “flaxseed meal.” Flax oil, flax oil pills and ground flax pills are also available. The oil lacks the protein and fiber of the ground seeds.

Ground flaxseeds mix with several foods unnoticed. Use 1 or 2 tablespoons in oatmeal, yogurt, a smoothie, cold cereal, sprinkled over a sandwich or mixed in a salad. Ground flaxseeds mix with batters and dough and hardly influence the consistency. Several cracker, cookie and muffin recipes use flaxseeds as their main flavor if you wish to base a dish around it. The taste of flaxseed is unappetizing to some.

Chia seeds are touted as the new super food, being high in protein as well as Omega 3s.  They can be added to many casseroles or soups and used as a thickener like tapioca.  Add some crunch to yogurt or oatmeal by sprinkling on chia seeds.  Remember once they sit in liquid for a while, they form little gelatinous balls. If you don't like that texture, sprinkle them on just before eating. Just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds gives you 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein, as well as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and omega-3s, and has just 60 calories.
Most nuts have Omega 3s, but walnuts have the most.  It's easy to add walnuts to a morning bowl of cereal or some snack-time trail mix.  Add to breads and cookies or make candied walnuts.  Not fond of walnuts, try pecans or hazelnuts they are also a good source of Omega 3s.

Pinto, Kidney or Soy Beans
Mix edamame (green soybeans), pinto, or kidney beans into soups, chili, and salads to boost your intake of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA.  The body can change some plant-based ALA into EPA and DHA, too, so you will get bonus benefits.

Enhanced Eggs
Chickens fed a diet high in Omega 3 will produce eggs high in Omega 3s.  You can find omega-3-enhanced eggs in many grocery stores. They tend to have darker yolks than regular eggs. The omega-3 fatty acid DHA is in yolks only; egg whites don’t have fatty acids.  Enjoy the whole egg for breakfast, and you'll start your day with the health benefits of omega-3s, including protecting your heart and possibly lowering the risk of memory loss.

Healthy Oils
Choose oils that are high in omega-3s for sautéing, baking, and dressing salads. Canola, soybean, and walnut oils are all good choices. Just remember that while omega-3s are good fats, oils are still high in calories, so keep an eye on how much you use. And don't worry: High cooking heat won't destroy their benefits.

Soy Foods: Tofu, Edamame, and More
Grocery shelves are full of foods made from soybeans: tofu, miso, tempeh, soy milk, and edamame. Soy products have many benefits, including the plant-based fatty acid ALA. Swap soy-based vegetable protein for ground meat in chili, add edamame to your casserole and stir fries, use soy milk in smoothies, and snack on roasted soybeans to boost omega-3s.

Omega-3 Supplements
Most Americans don’t get enough omega-3s in their diets. It’s best to get them from foods, but supplements may help fill in the gaps. You can choose from fish oil capsules or vegetarian-friendly supplements made from algae. Recommended daily doses vary from 500 milligrams to 3 grams, but ask your doctor about how much you should take. If you take high doses of them along with a blood thinner, you may have a higher risk of bleeding. Too much omega-3 also can make some medications not work as well.

Spinach, Kale, and Leafy Greens
Another reason to eat leafy greens: They have the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. A spinach salad, a side of sautéed collard greens, and lettuce on a sandwich all boost your intake. That’s good because fatty acids don’t just promote heart health. Studies now suggest they may help other conditions, including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.